Excessive force claims are excessive farce
Mark Kelsey Sawyer County sheriff Recently there has been considerable attention brought to law enforcement's use of force by the national media. People like Al Sharpton and Marc Lemont Hill use words like "systemic" and "rampant" to describe pol...
Sawyer County sheriff
Recently there has been considerable attention brought to law enforcement’s use of force by the national media. People like Al Sharpton and Marc Lemont Hill use words like "systemic" and "rampant" to describe police abuse. They use these words because it stirs emotion and they are comfortable that no one will challenge them to back-up their words with facts. They want you to believe that law enforcement officers are racist and the use of excessive force by law enforcement is the norm.
Sharpton and Hill use catch phrases like "driving while black" to make you believe law enforcement officers do their job with malice. Yet the United State Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that whites, blacks and Hispanics are stopped by law enforcement for traffic violations at similar rates.
Further, there was only a small difference in the percentage of drivers receiving tickets, blacks (7 percent), Hispanics (6 percent), and whites (5 percent). Critics want you to believe law enforcement agencies are force happy and that things are getting worse. This is despite the fact that a six-year study by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that law enforcement contacts with our citizens are going down.
Nationwide there are about 670,400 law enforcement officers. That means that on average there are 2½ law enforcement officers to serve the needs of every 1,000 of our citizens.
According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 40 million Americans have contact with law enforcement each year. According to the BJS study, nine out of 10 people contacted by law enforcement reported the police acted respectfully or properly during their contact. In fact, there is no statistical difference between the number of Hispanics, blacks and whites who thought the police were helpful.
The BJS study also showed that during the 40 million citizen contacts only 1.5 percent of the contacts resulted in a force-related incident in which physical restraint, handcuffs or even the verbal threat of force was used by law enforcement.
Furthermore, an incredibly small fraction - .0001 percent - of the contacts resulted in the use of deadly force. Of the people who died during these incidents, 42 percent were white, 32 percent were black, and 19 percent were Hispanic.
As the leader of a law enforcement agency, I know the importance of keeping the public confidence in law enforcement while still supporting the honorable men and women of the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Office. More law enforcement executives need to start worrying less about their careers and start supporting their officers. They need to stop cowering to the national media and the likes of Sharpton and Hill.
Law enforcement is full of honorable men and women who serve without glory, but with pride and honor.
If you look in to the facts, you will find the claims of people like Sharpton and most of the national media are a farce. In fact, you might say it’s an excessive farce.
Mark Kelsey is a 35-year veteran of law enforcement. He is currently serving as the sheriff of the Sawyer County Sheriff’s Department. He has instructed defensive tactics for more than 30 years and has testified as an expert witness in threat assessment and the use of force.